At Ainz/Tulpe the other week, I also purchased Wink Up's Maxigrade Mascara SP. Wink Up is owned by Osaka cosmetics company Naris and carries several different mascaras and eyeliners. Maxigrade Mascara SP is a basic mascara for the busy woman that lengthens, adds volume, and keeps the lashes curled. It is a film-type mascara that is both waterproof and removable with warm water. It dries instantly so you don't have to worry about smudging or rubbing it off. As far as I know, it only comes in black.
Maxigrade Mascara SP is similar to Blinc's Kiss Me Mascara and Fiberwig in that it coats each individual lash with synthetic fibers and does not clump. But unlike the other two mascaras, it delivers on all of its promises to lengthen, add volume, and keep your lashes curled. It dries immediately and is surprising light. It is not as luxurious or as dramatic as Lancôme's mascaras but it does create beautiful lashes. The mascara did not smudge or leave me with raccoon eyes, either, and I was able to remove it completely with some warm water. (It did flake off a tiny bit after several hours but it was nothing like Kiss Me or Fiberwig.) The best selling point, however, is that it only costs 1100 yen and can be purchased at most drugstores. The only real downside to the mascara is that it contains Nylon-6 and Nylon-66 which may be harmful to soft-contact wearers.
Shiseido's d program "Peace for Skin" brand targets sensitive skin types, particularly working women in their teens, 20s and 30s, and has four different programs: Balance-care (blue), Acne-care (orange), Moisture-care (pink), and Anti-aging-care (purple). I previously used products from the Balance-care line, which were gentle on my skin, but eventually switched to skincare products made specifically for rosacea-sufferers.
資生堂のdプログラムPeace for Skinブランドは敏感肌タイプ、特に１０代、２０代、３０代の働いている女性をターゲットにしていて、４つのプログラムがあります：バランスケアプログラム（青）、アクネケアプログラム（オレンジ）、モイストケアプログラム（ピンク）とエイジングケアプログラム（紫）です。前はバランスケアのプログラムを使っていまして、肌に優しかったのですが、ロザケア皮膚病のための商品に変えました。
I requested samples from the Moisture-care (pink) program because my skin tends to be very dry. The 2 days worth of samples came with a make-up removing gel, a cream cleanser, lotion, and a moisturizing cream. The mild-cleansing gel was very gentle and removed makeup well. It also did not leave much residue as the current remover I use (Bioré's Perfect Oil). The conditioning wash or cream cleanser was very foamy and cleansed well. I would recommend both products to anyone except those who require more specialized care. The Moisture-care lotion and cream are another matter.
The lotion (which is more like a gel or thick toner) and the cream are for day and night, and used together. Although the products did not irritate my skin, whether used together or separately, both left my dry skin sticky and oily, even into the next day. Though they may have moisturized my skin, the shiny film from the products make them unattractive. I wish the lotion was more similar to Shiseido The Skincare's alcohol-free Hydro-balancing Softener which moisturizes but does not leave a sticky residue. I do remember liking d Program's Balance-care line when I used it and the products are gentle, so I think they are worth trying out if you are interested. You can purchase 1-week trial sets of any of the programs for about 1000 yen each. I just don't recommend using the Moisture-care program. d program has also come out with many special-care products since I last used their line, including point-make up, hair and body treatment products, and more.
I spent the weekend shopping in Harajuku and Shibuya, acquiring several beauty products. Ainz/Tulpe in Harajuku was having a sale on Lancome and Yves Saint Laurent products and was also selling discounted Chanel and Guerlain makeup. I picked up Lancôme nail polish and foundation and a Chanel eyeshadow palette, in addition to eye and face masks and mascara. I also finally bought Shiseido's Ferzea Repair Veil which, I learned, can only be bought from a drugstore as it is a medical hand cream. (My right hand was cracking and beginning to bleed due to the dry weather but is a lot better now!)
The chanel palette I purchased, which you can see here, is the Les 4 Ombres à Paupières Quatuor in 08 Vanités. For some reason the colors look completely different on the Japanese Chanel website but I must say they are absolutely beautiful in person. Purple is one of my most favourite colors and I love purple eyeshadow and mascara, so I just had to have this palette.
The Chanel eyeshadows are not as silky and as pigmented as say, Lancôme's shadows, but with some primer they can look beautiful. I think the main problem with the palette is that the sponge tools they come up are a bit rough. I recommend using a brush or a softer sponge-tip applicator and maybe some water. Chanel has an instructional video on their 4 Ombres page to help you figure out how to apply the shadows. The great thing is that you can wear the shadows individually, in pairs, or blend them together on your eyes. I've been wearing them with my Lancôme Virtuôse black mascara but I think they would look stunning with purple mascara, as well. If only I hadn't run out of my Yves Saint Laurent purple mascara...
I might be a bit biased because I'm a big fan of the Chanel brand (although I cannot afford any of it!), beauty and fashion, and I also love Karl Lagerfeld. I've always admired the Chanel look but ever since I learned about how Coco Chanel modernized women's fashion in my seventh grade French class, I've come to really embrace the brand. Today, the Chanel look is considered "classic" but back in its day, it was innovative and empowering. The clothes were comfortable and actually allowed women to move freely for the first time. I am looking forward to the new Chanel film, Coco avant Chanel (Coco Before Chanel) starring Audrey Tautou.
シャネルブランド（ファションでもメークでも）とカール・ラガーフェルドの大ファンので、ちょっとシャネルに好感を抱いているかもしれません。昔からシャネルルックに憧れていましたが、中学一年生の頃にココ・シャネルが女性のファッションを現代的にしたことを学んでから、ブランドを好むようになりました。現代のシャネルのスタイルは「クラシック」と思われているかもしれませんが、もともとはとても革新的で（女性に）権限を与えるブランドでした。服は着心地のよいもので初めて女性が自由に動けるようなものでした。来年に出る、オドレイ・トトゥが主演する新しいシャネル話の映画、Coco Avant Chanel （シャネルの前のココ）を楽しみにしています。
Last week, I purchased a set of five KoseCosmeport's Clear Turn Q10 (coenzyme) Eye-zone Masks. I had pulled two all-nighters in a row for work and dark circles had formed around my eyes. It's difficult to review masks because they aren't something used daily and it can take up to two months for a regularly used product to even begin to show subtle results.
There are actually several different KoseCosmeport eye masks and two different Q10 eye masks. The one I purchased is a sheet-mask type while the other is a gel-fitted type. Q10 or Coenzyme Q10 acts as an antioxidant and helps boost the regeneration of cells. In the cosmetic world, it is used for its anti-aging properties. The eye mask also contains glycerin, sea collagen, and hyaluronic acid.
I had only used the gel-sticker type eye mask before so I was disappointed when I realized the the mask I had purchased was of the sheet-type. It doesn't stick on as well as the fitted gel mask and therefore makes you less mobile while you're wearing it. However, I think the sheet type might yield better results. After the first use, the bags under my eyes were less puffy. And after using the mask every other day, the circles didn't seem as dark as before. I think the extract from the sheet type penetrates into the dermis much more easily than gel which is why I had better success with this mask than others previously used. However, I also got more sleep later in the week and my eye area only really suffers when I don't sleep, so it's difficult to say how much the mask improved my skin.
As mentioned earlier in the blog, I acquired two Nintendo DS games from Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara. One game was Bimoji Training (Beautiful Handwriting Training) and the other was Utsukushii Nihongo no Kakikata Hanashikata (How to Speak and Write Japanese Beautifully). Many of the latest Nintendo DS games are educational and in additional to all the brain teasers and history testers, there are "games" that help you diet and calculate your daily caloric intake, give makeup and skincare tips, and help you improve your manners.
Bimoji Training helps you learn how to write "beautifully" with a brush or brush pen. The game will first test your brush-writing skills and then grade your handwriting according to how balanced, even, and accurate your characters are. Then you can start training. It's actually quite challenging because writing with a brush-pen or brush is very different than writing with a pen or pencil. You have to pay close attention to how thick your lines are and how well they flow together. You can set up a regular schedule and practice your characters daily or you can train whenever you want and practice doodling with the brush pen.
Utsukushii Nihongon trains you to write characters in the correct stroke order and "beautifully" using a pen or pencil. It also tests you on your formal Japanese and trains you to speak more politely. It is particularly helpful for business situations. There is also a section on letter writing and like Bimoji Training, you can set up a daily training schedule.
The January 2009 issue of Voce came with a sample of Bathtology's Body Care Bath Additive. Bath additives (bath salts and liquids) are very popular in Japan as Japanese people like to have a nice soak after a long day at work. The purpose of these additives is to protect the skin from drying after taking a bath and to moisturize. They can also work as a form of aromatherapy.
Bathtology is owned by the Lion Corporation, which is particularly known for its oral hygiene products and soaps. Bathtology is a body care brand marketed towards women. Along with the bath additive, the brand also carries a body wash. Both products are gentle, plant-derived, and have a soft floral scent.
The bath additive contains a natural clay formula that acts as a skin protective agent to prevent moisture loss, which tends to occur after bathing. The sorbitol (sugar alcohol obtained from fruit) and eucalyptus extract in the additive work to moisturize the skin.
Unlike bath salts which take a long time to dissolve, Bathtology's bath additive is a milky white liquid which instantly dissolves into the bath water. Its white floral scent is faint, pleasant, and rather relaxing. The water (with Bathtology) was very gentle on my skin and left it soft and supple. I also felt more refreshed than usual. I don't handle heat very well so I didn't stay in the tub very long but I could still notice its effects right after I got out. This is definitely something that I will use every time I bathe. If you are looking for a way to relax or if you find that your skin is frequently dry after taking a bath, I highly recommend Bathtology's Body Care Bath Additive. (Remember: In Japan, you always shower and clean yourself before you soak in the tub so be sure that your body is clean before you use the additive and bathe.)
I've been walking around Ginza, Ueno, and Akihabara these last couple of days. I went to an art exhibit, got new pajamas, bought more face and eye masks, and acquired two Nintendo DS games. A sample from Shiseido's d program arrived in the mail yesterday and I have more samples from Voce and Maquia to review. I am really liking the latest issue of SPUR, which came with a Kate Spade Calendar and a postcard set from Ladurée. I would love to have tea and macaroons at Ladurée's salon in Mitsukoshi.
Even though less than 1% of the population is Christian in Japan, the whole country is alight with Christmas lights and department stores are full of holiday decorations. If you're looking to check out some illuminations (that's what they're called here) in Tokyo, take a look at Let's Enjoy Tokyo's Tokyo Illuminations website. Unfortunately, my favourite Tokyo Millenario by Tokyo Station won't be up this year but I did recently check out Caretta Ocean Xmas in Shiodome.
I recently purchased Kanebo Kate's Deep Trap Eyes in PU-1 and Shiseido Majolica Majorca's Majo-look (witch-look) Illuminator eyeshadow in BR799. To be honest, both were somewhat of a disappointment. Just too sheer and the colors just didn't work well together.
Just looking at the Kate palette, it seems as though the colors would blend well to create a pretty and somewhat sophisticated look, but my eyes ended up looking like they were bruised and tired. My eyelids turned out very red although the two closest colors to rouge in the palette are the pink and the rose shadows on the right. Maybe it's because I'm pink toned that the PU-1 colors didn't show up well. I do kind of like the dark purple as an eyeliner but it is a bit scratchy. I wish I had gone for one of the other palettes instead but I have a feeling all of the shadows are on the very sheer side, even though they are supposed to create a deep, smokey-eye look. The palette might work better for someone with very dark skin.
The Majolook was a bit better but the dark eyeshadow turns up more brown than purple. I do really like the illuminator base. The palette does produce a cute, somewhat natural look but again, the shadows are very sheer and the colors don't work well with my skin color. I regret purchasing the palette but I will continue to use it .
Korea is well known in the Asian beauty world for their facial masks. I am a pretty big fan of The Face Shop masks but I recently received two Dermal Korea masks. Apparently, Dermal masks are also sold in the USA, Japan, and Vietnam but their homepage (www.dermalkorea.org) is inaccessible from Japan (at the moment, anyway).
The mask I'm reviewing for today is the Green Tea Essence Mask. It is supposed to make "your tired skin elastic, moistened, white, clear, and relax[ed]." I'm a bit skeptical about the claims but studies have shown that green tea can help reduce sun damage and inflammation, so I am willing to believe that there are some benefits to using the mask. Dermal suggests using masks 3 to 4 times a week which seems like a lot to me.
The mask should be kept in the refrigerator and if you would like to use it as a warm mask instead, soak the package (without removing the mask) in 50-60C water for two to three minutes. Be sure to wash your face and "soothe your face with toning water" before applying the mask. I assume "toning water" means "toner" but it could also refer to thermal water. This is a big problem with Dermal's masks. The English instructions/translations are awful. Strange English (in this case, "Konglish") is rather common when it comes to Asian products but usually they are more amusing than confusing. They also don't contain that many spelling mistakes. Cosmetics companies generally do a good job when it comes to their translators and I don't remember Dermal's rival, The Face Shop, having such problems.
In the instructions, Dermal says to "Blease tap two or three times before opening the pouch." While I figure "blease" was meant to be "please," I am not sure what they mean exactly by tapping. Later on, the instructions say "If essence is left on your face after taking off the mask, tap your face for completely being absorbed into your skin." I assumed tap was supposed to be "pat." Pat your face. But the English instructions are so full of mistakes, many of which ("nuterients" [nutrients] "awollen" [swollen] "sings" [things]) could have been easily corrected by using a spellchecker, that I have to wonder how much effort Dermal is putting into attracting foreign customers. Asian companies need to remember that the translations are for their foreign audience and not for themselves. Perhaps, you somehow understand this strange English but us native speaker do not and having a native speaker (or someone almost as proficient as one) check your instructions would easily eliminate any problems. Don't assume your employee, who maybe spent a term or two studying English at an Australian University, is capable enough to translate. And remember, translators usually translate into their native tongue. Not from.
その英語説明では、"Blease tap two or three times before opening the pouch"と書いてあります。"Blease" は多分"please"だと思いますが、その"tapping (tap)"がよく分かりません。その後は"If essence is left on your face after taking off the mask, tap your face for completly being absorbed into your skin"と書いてありますので、この場合では"tap"は多分"pat"です。顔をpatする。でも英語の説明では色々な問題があり、スペルチェック使えば簡単に直せるところも多くて("nuterients" [nutrients] "awollen" [swollen] "sings" [things])、どこまで外国のお客のことを考えているか、疑問です。多くのアジアの会社（日本も含めて）は翻訳は自分のためじゃなくて外国の客のためであるということを考えないとだめです。あなたはもしかしてこの変な英語が解るかもしれないですが、でもネイティブスピーカーの私たちでも理解できませんし、ネイティブやネイティブに近い翻訳者にその英語をチェックしてもらったら簡単にこういう問題は解決出来ます。あなたの会社員が大学の頃、数ヶ月オーストラリアの大学で英語を勉強したら翻訳出来ると思うのは大間違いです。それから、翻訳者は大体自分の母国語に翻訳します。自分の母国語からじゃなくて。
I applied the cool mask to my face after exercising. The first thing I noticed when I opened the Dermal mask was that it was much smaller compared to others I've used and fit on my face quite well. As much as I love The Face Shop, their masks are huge and while they are clearly trying to accommodate all face shapes and sizes, no one has a face that big. (Well, as far as I know! ) Even Japanese masks are too large for me but Dermal didn't require as much folding and adjusting. The mask was also full of moisture and incredibly soothing. My face was quite smooth after I removed the mask and let the essence dry, and I noticed a reduction in the redness on my cheeks (although they returned to their usual red an hour or two later). I think Dermal might be my most favourite mask company yet. I just hope they fix their English instructions.
If you never got a chance to pick up MadameFigaro Japon's September issue (No. 370), you can still take a peek at their 2008 A/W make up bookon their website. I particularly like Peter Philips&Chanel's looks (the blue eyeshadow is stunning), Dolce and Gabbana's, as well as Anna Sui's nail art. The make up trends right now are purple eyeshadow, gothic nails, scarlet lips, and pink blush. Hopefully, the spring make up trends will be out soon. Figaro Japon already has video footage of the 2009 Paris Prête-à-porter Spring-Summer collections on their website. As for skincare/bath-care beauty, champagne baths are all the rage in Japan.
The latest issue of Figaro Japon (No. 375) includes photos of the daily lives of designers Anna Sui (her home is absolutely beautiful), Phillip Lim, Mathew Williamson, Clare Waight Keller, and Ivana Omazic, and articles on smart shopping, knits for the season, and plants in Kyoto.
Two samples of Shiseido's new hand cream, Ferzea Repair Veil, arrived in the mail a few days ago. Ferzea, which can also be applied to the face and body, was made specifically for those suffering from hypersensitive, dry skin, for people who often wash their hands or work with water, and for those who want to spend the least amount of time caring for their hands. Repair Veil is fragrance-free, contains no dyes, parabens, steroids, or carbamide peroxide (urea). Its effects are supposed to last for a full 24 hours, even after repeated hand-washing.
Although my left hand is perfectly fine, my right hand suffers from eczema. Since my right hand is allergic to most soaps and creams and even water can make the skin crack and bleed, I only use L'Occitane's Shea Butter Dry Skin Hand Cream (Creme Mains Peaux Seches) and a hydrocortisone 1% cream from my doctor's office on the back of my hands. Unfortunately, the L'Occitane cream is a bit greasy and takes a while to be fully absorbed into the skin and the hydrocortisone, while soothing and somewhat healing, doesn't work very well when it comes to protection and prevention.
Shiseido recommends applying the hand cream right before bedtime and again in the morning. I first applied the cream to both of my hands and my legs right before I went to sleep (and then later in the morning the next day). My right hand did not sting at all which is what usually happens when I apply a new hand cream. However, the cream was quite greasy and a little sticky. It took at least 15-20 minutes for cream to really begin to absorb into the skin and yet, it was still greasy.
In the morning, however, both of my hands were incredibly smooth. The cracks and tiny cuts on my right hand were healed. What was even more surprising was that washing my hands seemed to have no affect on the performance of the cream. My hands still remained smooth and never dry. Ferzea really did create a veil on my hands that seemed to have protected my skin. I have never encountered a cream that could do such a thing.
Even though I really don't care for the greasiness of the product, I do think I will be using Ferzea as a night hand cream. While there are creams out there that help soothe and heal dry, highly allergic skin, few work after repeated contact with soap and water. I don't think I would use it if I didn't have eczema on my right hand but I highly recommend the cream to anyone suffering from eczema or very dry skin. Unfortunately, the Repair Veil is a bit expensive but it is not your typical hand cream. (1,800 yen for 40g)
Aube is a makeup brand under Sofina that has recently been revived as "Aube Couture." With their new line, Aube aims to sell makeup easy to put on that also compliments the skin tone to create a natural and pretty look.
Aube Couture's new lipsticks, Designing Rouge, contain "harmonize (gold) pearls." That is, they contain a gold shine to "harmonize" with the average Japanese (East-Asian) skin tone, which is more yellow than pink. Hues that blend with or compliment the East-Asian skin tone have become a theme among many of the Japanese makeup brands, lately. The lipsticks are also described by Aube as "mild-shiny" and moist.
There are 16 different colors available for the Designing Rouge lipsticks and can be divided into four groups: rose (RS), red (RD), pink (PK), and beige (BE). The samples included PK101, RS301, RD501, and BE701.
The lipsticks were quite moist and smooth and glided on (by finger, as they were samples and not full sticks) well. The colors were also very natural, not overly shiny, with a hint of gold sparkle. The lipstick contain no fragrance which is also a plus for those who are allergic to or get a headache from smelly makeup. The only downside, really, was that the colors did not work well with my skin tone, which is more cool and pink-based than yellow. The colors came out a little too orange for me although I do like the rose-colored RS301. However, I think the colors would look very flattering on East-Asian skin (which is their purpose, after all) and if you're someone with a yellow skin tone looking for something more natural and smooth, I would recommend checking out those new Aube Couture's Designing Rouge colors. Aube Couture also has lipsticks in each of the four groups containing silver sparkles that might suit those with a more cool tone. (3,200yen without tax)
In addition to a line of lipstick, Aube Couture is also coming out with eyeshadow compacts, blush, mascara, eyeliner set, eyebrow set, and makeup remover. I am most intrigued by their Designing Double Mascara.
The volumizing mascara has a small, angled brush on one side and a larger brush on the other with small hooks to coat each individual lash. The mascara is supposed to hold well even under sweat and tears and can be easily removed with your regular cleanser. It comes in two colors: BK601 (black) and BR602 (brown). (3000yen without tax)
Feeling not so well, I decided to take a time out with The Face Shop's Fresh Fruit Aloe Mask Sheet. Usually, I use the Fresh Fruit Grape Mask Sheet but I had an Aloe Mask left over from the summer. I suffer from rosacea so I was a little apprehensive about the mask containing alcohol which can really flare me up. So far, I seem to be fine and the left over dew feels very moisturizing.
I plan to try the Essential Pearl mask next. And maybe the Cereal Rice Mask, as well. Both are supposed to brighten and even out skin tone.
Lip Gloss: Benefit The Gloss Kiss Me (Clear Fuchsia) グロス: ベネフィット ザグロス キスミー
Still searching for: The right foundation and highlighter. I haven't found a foundation pale enough for my skin in Japan and beyond but I will be checking out RMK's liquid foundation thanks to a recommendation. まだ探してる: 自分の肌に合うファンデーションとハイライター。肌があまりにも白いので日本や外国でもなかなか自分に合うファンデーションが見つからないが、RMKのファンデーションを進められたので試してみます。
Curious about: Lancôme's Ôscillation Mascara. My lashes are already thick and long but unfortunately, curve down. They are also incredibly stubborn and require an eyelash curler (Shiseido's Eyelash Curler) followed by an electric curler (National Matsugekurun Separate Comb). When I look for a masacara, I try to find something that will both separate and maintain a curl. Virtuouse has worked out very well. My lashes still maintain their curled form at the end of the day but I would like something that would seperate each individual lash and that's what Lancôme's new mascara, Ôscillation, is supposed to do.
Guerlain's Météorites Powder for the Face Mythic. Guerlain's meteorites have gained quite a reputation. I am interested in something that would appear invisible on the skin but emit a soft glow. I am also curious about how the pearls perform compared to pressed powders.